I have been working toward a routine of early morning jogging. A couple of weeks ago it was cool in the a.m., so out I went and jogged for 22 minutes straight. The next day I could only run for about 5 minutes because my hands were freezing (that’s my story and I’m sticking to it). Today I ran for 30 minutes. It is surprising to me that at my age and long hiatus at jogging, I can just go out and run that long without having to stop and rest a few times along the way. I am pleased.
I used to run almost every day for months at a stretch and then alternate with not running for an equivalent amount of time. Well ok, maybe the quit nickels were a little more than the run pennys. Each time I quit, I would have to retrain my body when I resumed. You know the drill: run for 5 minutes, walk for 5, run 5, walk 5… I used to have to do that several days in a row before I could run without walk-resting.
Then I learned I have a ticker problem; it is more like a zig-zag than a tick-tock. The ticker in my brain works fine, but the following cascade of 3 more tickers in my heart would tock out of order when I jogged or did other exertions. This causes the circulatory system to slow down and work less efficiently, effectively quashing endurance. My doctor put me on a derivative of digitalis, the deadly poison derived from the Old World foxglove plant, which straightened out the ticking. Mountain biking, hiking and caving are so much more enjoyable now, but I still hadn’t returned to jogging because of the boredom of it all and the uncertainty of how my (now) older heart would react.
Then a couple of days ago I learned that a long time friend had a heart attack. He awoke in the middle of the night with a pain under his arm and went quickly to a hospital where they installed a stent in one of three arteries that were clogged. He said his blood tests had always come back fine with cholesterol levels low. The doc said he might have died if he had gotten to the hospital much later. He has since learned there are better tests for circulatory problems than the standard tests that family doctors prescribe. Methinks I should review them, too.
Anyway, that was the motivation for running this morning. I remember how much I used to enjoy running, and now am reminded that it might be a good way to keep the arteries open. I find it ironic that a poisonous plant can give me so much life. To the survivors!